Skip to main content

Bair Mail: On Terry Fontenot as buyer, seller at NFL trade deadline, 2023 free agency, Damien Williams and Cordarrelle Patterson

We also look at the state of the Falcons secondary heading into Panthers game

We've got another Thursday Bair Mail, and for the second straight week. That means two in a row, getting to tons of your questions over the final two days of practice.

That means you gotta get questions in quick to get prepped for Friday.


Since we went so heavy on the Falcons passing game on Monday, we're staying away from it here. Tori McElhaney also hit it hard in the Wednesday Falcons Daily, which you can find right here.

We home in on the NFL trade deadline – coming up on Nov. 1 – and whether the Falcons will be active or not.

We also talk about Falcons cornerbacks and the possible logjam a running back, if guys are designated to return on injured reserve. Let's get into all that in this Thursday morning.

Del Williams from Lincoln, Neb.

The trade deadline is coming up on Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 4 p.m. E.T. Is there reason to believe the Falcons will make a move? Despite the up-and-down play we've seen from the team this season, they're hanging in there tied for first in the objectively bad NFC South.. I think they should go after a play maker!

And my second question is Do you see Desmond Riddler as a long-term franchise quarterback? I want to get his jersey!!

Bair: Lots of trade deadline questions in the mailbag, Del, and understandably so. We're super close the deadline now, and the Falcons are in the mix in a lackluster division. Winning the NFC South is the easiest way to reach the postseason, though it'll take some doing to get there.

The Falcons are in an odd tweener spot, where they could go for it a bit but are also in the midst of developing young talent. They want Arnold Ebiketie, Troy Andersen and Tyler Allgeier to continue seeing snaps. They also still look at draft capital as solid gold, and their cap space isn't large enough to take on a big contract without reworking it.

Will they be buyers or sellers? Probably neither, but you know Terry Fontenot and Kyle Smith are working the phones for the right fit. Is one out there who could swing the NFC South race without slowing down the Falcons' development plan or robbing their draft stores? It would take a perfect storm.

They surely need help on the defensive line and now at cornerback, maybe another edge rusher to crank things up. Getting the right guy, at the right price, provides narrow scope of possible actions. A greater prospect is a continued roster churn trying to unearth guys who can help and fortify the back third of the roster, which is being called to action more often as injuries come up.

In terms of buying a jersey based on my recommendation, don't do it. If it doesn't pan out, I don't want you cursing my name when you see it in the back of your closet! Nor do I want you to send me a bill for the jersey. Ha!!

Jimmy Brooks in Brunswick, Ga.

We are still strapped with the salary cap until next year. Hate to see anyone lose their jobs but, I think The Coach and GM have been making the best moves for the team. I have no idea what they will do with the money when we are out of cap hell but, I'm excited imagining our future!! What do you think about the quality of players the Falcons will bring in the next few seasons Bair? Also do you have any ideas of positions or names for us in the free agent market?

Bair: It's definitely too early for names, but I think extending their own players is a top priority with Fontenot. It helps build a good culture to show that talent plus hard work and commitment to the team gets you paid. They have some guys ready for an extension, with Chris Lindstrom and A.J. Terrell coming to the top of mind.

I think this team will follow a philosophy of drafting and development, using free agency as a smart bomb with two or three imports. Sometimes free agency can be fool's gold, an expensive gamble if you swing and miss. Being smart, and knowing when you go all-in for a player, is important as heck moving forward. The first step is establishing financial flexibility. The second is spending it right.

Mike D from Charleston, S.C.

What is the status of Damien Williams? Is he due back this game and when he does come back, does he ascend to the top of the depth chart at RB?

Bair: Damien Williams is eligible for designation to return off injured reserve, but still hasn't started his 21-day practice window. Even if that happens, I'm not sure he simply jumps above Tyler Allgeier and Caleb Huntley, who have a good thing going right now. I do think Cordarrelle Patterson makes that jump when he's brought back, with his eligibility starting next week.

The Falcons could get pushed into a weird spot at running back, with more worthy candidates that they can allocate roster spots to. They have five tight ends on the 53-man and could trim one for Patterson. For Williams, though, it gets tricky if they're faced with his return. I think getting Huntley back on practice squad might end with him getting picked up on waivers. I don't think the Falcons would want that. What they do at that position, when veterans are healthy enough to return, will be interesting to watch.

John Harden from Covington, Ga.

What can the Falcons do to shore up their secondary? Because obviously the lack of or non-existent with A.J and others them all on the sideline. I just think that with a little bit of a secondary we could have beat the Bangles Sunday. What do you think.?

Bair: I would anticipate they roll with options available to them over importing someone. That could mean we see lots of Darren Hall and Dee Alford [if he's available] outside, with Isaiah Oliver in the slot. Cornell Armstrong played a ton and could be a practice squad elevation for a second straight week. Obviously working without A.J. Terrell [if he's unavailable] and Casey Hayward is a setback. Those guys are two of the best in the business. But Arthur Smith says he's in the solution business, and they have to find solutions with the options currently available to them.

Call for questions

Submit your questions right here for inclusions in Friday's Bair Mail.

Take a look as the team puts in the work in Flowery Branch to prepare for this week's game against the Carolina Panthers, presented by Gatorade.


Sundays In Atlanta, GA Reserved For Dirty Birds

Doesn't get better than a Falcons Sunday in the city! Shop the Kickoff Collection today online or in-store at Atlantic Station.

Related Content